A few years ago, a simple miscommunication led to a nationwide effort to raise money to help end ALS.
In 2017, Larry Kaplan drove up from his home in West Chester, Pennsylvania to attend a bar crawl organized by Deb Bellina to raise money for ALS organizations, including ALS TDI, in Boston. The next year, she asked him to help put on another crawl. In the meantime, she had move back to Pennsylvania to help care for her son Matt, who is living with ALS.
“I thought she meant in Boston, but she didn't,” Kaplan says. “She was doing a local one in Newtown, Pennsylvania, where she lives. So, I said, how about you do your bar crawl in Newtown, and I'll do one in West Chester, and we can compete with one another and see like who raises more money.”
This idea quickly expanded to become the 50in1 bar crawl. Kaplan figured if this could work in two cities, why not across the country? He already knew a network of organizers who cared deeply about ALS across the country from his past fundraising experience, and he knew many of them would want to get in on the fun. They chose the Saturday of the weekend before Super Bowl Sunday, a typically slow time for many bars.
“I thought that our first year, maybe we would have five states participate,” Kaplan says. “So, I'm very excited that we have over 40 states participating right now.”
Each bar crawl will spread the support throughout the ALS community by benefiting three different ALS charities. The goal is to eventually have a crawl in at least one city or town in all fifty states, although more than one city in each state can participate.
“Eventually we want that Saturday, the week before the Super Bowl, to be a national ALS Awareness Day with this bar crawl throughout the country,” he says. They currently have more than 50 bar crawls in 40 states scheduled for January 25th. 18 of them, from Massachusetts to California and many places in-between, will be supporting ALS TDI’s mission to develop potential treatments for ALS.
“We want to let people with ALS know that there are tons of different organizations out there that are willing to help, that are focused on people and families,” says Kaplan. “We're just trying to get a lot of cooperation, get people to work together and have fun.”
If you’re interested in attending or organizing a 50 in 1 bar crawl to benefit ALS research you can find more information on their website, Facebook or Instagram, or you can reach out to Larry Kaplan directly at email@example.com.